Police and wildlife authorities in the mountains of Central California are investigating the death of a bear that was reportedly struck by an automobile and later found with all four of its paws removed. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is heading up the investigation near the community of Foresthill, which is located 50 miles northeast of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division is trying to get to the bottom of how a dead bear found along a mountain highway wound up with all four of its paws cut off, according to information shared by kcra.com. The discovery was made by an area motorist who contacted Foresthill police on Saturday.

Hunters sometimes use animal paws as trophy pieces.

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Foresthill is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at an elevation of 3,200 feet. The area is known for having an abundance of wild bears. The community is best known for being home to the Foresthill Bridge, the nation's third highest and tallest in California at 730 feet above the American River.

State laws do allow hunters to remove portions of legally killed wildlife, but the fact the animal was mutilated after being struck by an automobile introduces other challenges, according to reports. Hunters sometimes use animal paws as trophy pieces.

Hopefully, authorities can figure out who was responsible for the mutilations. Carrying out such acts in California is a misdemeanor, according to state law. Jail time or a fine are possible consequences in this case.

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